Wednesday, August 28, 2013
The Impossible Gentlemen: "Internationally Recognised" (and Impossibly Good)
"Modern Day Heroes" is another Simcock piece with additional parts added by Walker. It's introduced by Nussbaum on drums, and then Simcock and Swallow enter with a jaunty little melody. The tune trades back and forth between the bass, guitar, and piano, but the piano really drives this upbeat melody supported by the rest of the band. Very infectous toe-tapping music with a decidely strong beat and group ethos. Simcock takes a strong turn on the solo midway through the piece that is wonderfully light and airy and then plays back and forth with Walker until gradually Walker takes over with great support by Nussbaum.
"The Silver of Other Lovers" is a Mike Walker composition, written expressly for Simock, and to capture Walker's fascination with combining jazz, pop, and classical music into a "new, organic whole." Simcock steps in front here with a strict left-hand pattern and some really nice lyrical imrovisation from the right, as determined by Walker as composer. Walker backs up the piano later with some hard guitar phrases, and the whole thing comes together to create a fine piece. "Crank of Cam Bay" is a humorous piece based on a story of Steve Swallow's, but the narration of parts of the story interrupt the very fine piece of music and is more a distraction than anything else. I'm sure it sounded fun and wacky and reflected the crazy side of the group but to me it falls flat.
After that, the tightly constructed and marvelously played music continues with "Love in Unlikely Places" by Simcock and Walker, which is a small piece of beautiful, pastoral music between the piano and guitar. "Barber Blues" follows with a thoroughly modern take on the blues based on the methods of classical composer Samuel Barber, with angular melody lines and short vibrant solos from each member including the bass and drums. It's lively and rollicking.
"Ever After" closes the set with a Swallow tune, another delicate piece of lyrical charm, played quietly by Simcock first and then the others, with tasteful rhythms and colors by Nussbaum underneath. It's quiet, peaceful, and a clear counter-point the the previous tune, thus demonstrating the range and abilities of this marvelous band.
As I said, I enjoyed this CD more than the award-winning first one. I found it more lyrical, more tightly constructed, and at times playful and captivating. First Class.